Knights festival launches busy weekend for uptown Charlotte

A Friday afternoon festival celebrating the opening of Charlotte’s new baseball park will launch a busy 36-hour period of sports-related activities in uptown.

Friday’s events will have a party theme.

Saturday’s could cause some challenges for motorists.

The Opening Day Festival at Romare Bearden Park begins at noon, about seven hours before the first pitch at nearby BB&T Ballpark between the Charlotte Knights and Norfolk Tides.

The festival is family-themed, featuring live music, magicians and more. Knights players will be on hand to sign autographs.

The Carolina Panthers’ PURRcussion team will launch activities at 11:55 a.m. The autograph session is at 12:30 p.m. Three separate bands are scheduled to perform during the afternoon.

Gates to the stadium open at 5 p.m. The sold-out game at 7:05 p.m. and subsequent fireworks display will bring more than 10,000 people to the west side of uptown.

The activity – and potential traffic challenge – really increases Saturday night, when uptown will host three sports events.

Top bicyclists will compete from 5 to 9 p.m. in the annual Novant Healthcare Criterium on uptown streets. There will also be a Charlotte Bobcats game at 7 p.m. at Time Warner Cable Arena and a 7:05 p.m. Charlotte Knights game at BB&T Ballpark.

A number of uptown streets will be closed Saturday, so fans headed to the baseball or basketball games are asked to plan their routes before coming uptown – or take light rail or buses.

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